Be a little bit savvier when planning your next trip to a brand new city and you’ll be able to navigate the new territory like a seasoned pro – and save some money in the process. Here are some helpful hints:
Don’t always pay. Even the most expensive cities have “free” attractions. You just need to do some research ahead of time. And most institutions that do charge a fee, will set aside complimentary days or hours. If you’re a student, teacher, or senior – always carry ID. Freebies or discounts may drop in your lap. Another option for “free fun” – if you’re headed to New York or Los Angeles – is to snag free audience tickets to a TV show taping.
If you can – avoid taking cabs. For a more local experience and potentially quicker ride – especially during rush hour – take public transportation. If you plan to do a lot of hopping on and off – purchase an all-day or multi-day transit pass. Avoiding taxis at the airport will often save you a bundle. Well used public trains serve international airports in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Beijing and London to name a few. Shuttle services are also available.
Don’t forget to check and book events in advance. In the big metropolitan centres shows sell out and restaurants fill up. Check events calendars for the city you’re going to be visiting well in advance. If you have a specific interest in mind, go directly to the source, such as the Sydney Opera House, for performing arts or Open Table, for dining reservations.
Don’t overlook the outlying areas of whichever city you’re visiting. A city’s suburbs and outer boroughs can be more authentic and exotic than the downtown core. Neuilly, which borders Paris, is a wealthy enclave of boutiques, cafes, street markets and more. Tokyo’s suburbs are sprinkled with shrines, temples, beaches and hiking trails.
A bit of research ahead of time and you’ll not only be presently surprised but also have some fantastic stories to tell when you get home.